This Post is Dedicated to the Socialists of All Parties, Newspapers, and Cable Stations
Speaking of Obama, Road to Serfdom is actually dedicated to him and to his parents, not to mention the group that nurturted his political sensibilities, ACORN. (Have you noticed that the treasonous don't fall far from the ACORN?)
Yes, Hayek dedicated the book -- without irony or malice -- "to the socialists of all parties." He did so because he knew that the vast majority of socialists were not evil, just misguided (despite the respect not being mutual; Hayek was treated with contempt by his Anointed contemporaries).
Again, back then there was an excuse for being a socialist, just as we can excuse someone for having been a slaveholder back when the practice was universal, or racist when no one knew any better. But now there is no excuse. So this post is dedicated with irony and malice to the socialists of all parties, newspapers, and cable stations.
As I mentioned yesterday, the kooks of the mainstream left will not engage our arguments. Instead, their first and last resort is name-calling of the most vile sort. Again, the proof that they do not take racism seriously is that they throw out the charge so lightly and irresponsibly. If I am a racist, then there's nothing wrong with being one.
But things were no different in the 1940s, since one of the appeals of leftism is that it renders one virtuous in one's own eyes, so that people who don't share your ideals are worthy of the most intolerant scorn and ridicule. As Hayek writes in the preface, the very people who could most benefit from the book "rejected it out of hand as a malicious and disingenuous attack on their finest ideals. They appear never to have paused to examine its argument."
This column from the blessedly soon-to be-extinct LA Times is typical: "the right-wing anti-Obama movement in the U.S. these days is overpopulated with nuts, fundamentalists and paranoids who won't be easily stopped by a few congressional reprimands." You don't say! (Interestingly, just as the previous dinosaurs, the MSM is becoming extinct due to a comet -- the blazing comet of the internet and of citizen journalism.)
In fact, this idiotorial claims that you and I don't even actually believe what we believe. You know, the old Marxist idea of "false consciousness." Rather, we're just being manipulated by a conspiratorial political action committee called Our Country Deserves Better. Never heard of them? They're the ones who have convinced us of the "fundamentalist" and "unintelligible" idea that the Constitution actually means what it says. How primitive! Everyone knows that the Constitution means what the left wishes it to mean.
Have you ever wondered why two economists can believe things that are diametrically opposed to one another? This leads to a kind of cynicism and confusion that paves the way for the left. In other words, if both Thomas Sowell and Paul Krugman are "economists," then the word "economist" has no real meaning, so a politician can go ahead and do what he wants, knowing that some gliberal quackademic has his back. It is analogous to calling both an astronomer and astrologer "scientists."
Then again, Van Morrison and Kanye West are both "musicians." That being the case, one is unable to evaluate music in the absence of values. The same holds true of economics. The reason why a Hayek and Krugman or Robert Reich differ so sharply is because they start with an entirely different set of values, which are "non-negotiable." For a variety of reasons we will get into, Hayek starts with the individual in general and with liberty in particular (which one might say is the field of the individual's freely chosen action), while the socialist -- by whatever name -- begins with the collective.
Many people wonder why conservatism embodies the sometimes uneasy coalition of libertarians and serious religious seekers, and this is why, for both, in their own way, regard the individual as sacred, inviolable, and absolute (i.e., the image of the Absolute). "We are endowed by our Creator," etc.
In contrast, the fascist/socialist always begins with the we. For example, in Nazi Germany, the state was simply the reflection of the fundamental reality of the nation, or "volk." The individual is meaningless in the absence of his devotion and subordination to this higher body. For this reason, the Nazis embarked on an all-out assault on the liberal values of the Anglo-Saxon world (including the Christian metaphysics underlying them).
The same principle applies to our contemporary socialists, including Obama. "Yes we can." Higher taxes are our patriotic duty. I want to take your income and "spread it around." I don't want to hear any talking from you. I want you to get out of the way, you bunch of selfish racists. If you challenge these assumptions, you trigger the same kind of visceral reaction you would if you had attacked a religious icon, the reason being that socialism is a religion. Take away its ideals, and these people have nothing to believe in.
So although Road to Serfdom is an economics book, there's not a single equation in it (except for the equation of socialism and serfdom). Rather, it begins and ends in ultimate values -- although he then proceeds to demonstrate how the nurturing of these values leads to human progress, development, and increased wealth. For the secret power of the free market is that it unleashes the almost infinite potential of the creative and motivated individual -- a potential that was quashed for most of human history, and is vitiated under any socialist system.
Again, rather than engage these ideas, the left always attacks motivations -- for example, that classical liberalism is simply a self-serving doctrine of The Rich. But I am not rich, nor was Hayek, nor are most of the tea partiers. (And I assume you're not, but if you are, how would you like to send a generous Love Offering my way?) The left has it precisely backward. If I were self-serving, I would be a leftist in order to get more free stuff from the government, and maybe even a lifetime commitment to a major looniversity bin. I would work toward that glorious day when 51% of the population pays no taxes and lives off the 49% who do -- the revolt of the takers over the makers.
As Hayek explains, "I am as certain as anyone can be that the beliefs set out in [the book] are not determined by my personal interests. I can discover no reason why the kind of society which seems to me desirable should offer greater advantages to me than to the great majority of the people in my country."
Same with me. I am sure that Omamacare will include mandated mental health coverage. Therefore, it is like free money for me. My pool of potential victims will increase exponentially. But I am adamantly opposed to the idea that the government should pay for people to talk about their problems to some unhinged psychologist.
Hayek goes on to say that "I have every reason for not writing or publishing this book. It is certain to offend many people with whom I wish to live on friendly terms." Again, I couldn't agree more. I too have in-laws, co-workers, and neighbors.
Believe it or not, I have no desire to be hated by people, which is precisely why I try to limit my exposure. I really don't want to put a big target on myself. Those folks are spooky, in case you haven't noticed. And since the main purpose of this blog is spiritual, I can't be at my best in that arena if I am having to deal with the psychotic crosscurrents of the left. I prefer to leave that to others who thrive on that sort of thing.